Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 93

circumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich
merchants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest
instruments for the management of their affairs, and such being so
rare), have endeavoured to convince young persons that no qualities
were so likely to make a poor man's fortune as those of probity and

My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend
having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my
pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content
with being in the right when discussing any point, but was
overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by
mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure
myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added
_Humility_ to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the _reality_ of this
virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the _appearance_ of it. I
made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments
of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself,
agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or
expression in the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as
_certainly, undoubtedly_, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, _I
conceive, I apprehend_, or _I imagine_ a thing to be so or so; or it
_so appears to me at present_. When another asserted something that I
thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure of contradicting him
abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his
proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain
cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present
case there _appear'd_ or _seem'd_ to me some difference, etc. I soon
found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I
engag'd in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I propos'd
my opinions procur'd them a readier reception and less contradiction;
I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I
more easily prevail'd with others to give up their mistakes and join
with me when I happened to be in the right.

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural
inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that
perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical
expression escape me. And to this habit (after my

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

Page 22
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_] It is this whirling body of air between _a a a a_ and _b b b b_ that rises spirally; by its force it tears buildings to pieces, twists up great trees by the roots, &c.
Page 32
Hence, when salt rises, as it will a little way, into air with water, there is instantly a separation made; the particles of water adhere to the air, and the particles of salt fall down again, as if repelled and forced off from the water by some power in the air; or, as some metals, dissolved in a proper menstruum, will quit the solvent when other matter approaches, and adhere to that, so the water quits the salt, and embraces the air; but air will not embrace the salt, and quit the water, otherwise our rains would indeed be salt, and every tree and plant on the face of the earth be destroyed, with all the animals that depend on them for subsistence.
Page 49
At present I would only say, that the opinion of winds being generated in clouds by fermentation, is new to me, and I am unacquainted with the facts on which it is founded.
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122, is a letter from Mr.
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FOOTNOTE: [23] This extract is taken from Dr.
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Percival on the same subject.
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Two large ships, the Seraphis and the Duke of Athol, one an East-Indiaman, the other a frigate, have been burnt within these two last years, and many lives miserably destroyed, by drawing spirits out of a cask near a candle.
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| |----|------|-----|---|-----|---|-----|-----|------|------|------|--------| |Aug | | | | | | | | | | / | | 20 |37 38 |38 6| 78| 76 | omitted |West |N ¼ W | 62 | | 77 | 75 | | 21 |36 15 |38 26| 73| 74 | 78| 76 |W N W|S b W | 82 | | 77 | 75 | | 22 |35 40 |38 44| 7 | 76 | 80| 77 |W b S|S S W | 38 | .
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) The air obstructed by this dam will, like water, press and search for passages through it; and finding the top of the chimney B, below the top of the dam, it will force itself down that funnel, in order to get through by some door or window open on the other side of the building.
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0 9½ Length of the front plate E, where longest, 0 11 The cover D, square, 0 12 Hole in ditto, diameter, 0 3 Sliding plates Y Y, their length, each, 1 0 ----- ----- ----- their breadth, each, 0 4½ Drawer G, its length, 1 0 ----- ----- breadth, 0 5¾ ----- ----- depth, 0 4 ----- ----- depth of its further end, only, 0 1 Grate H in the vase, its diameter to the extremity of its knobs, 0 5¾ Thickness of the bars at top, 0 0¼ ----- ----- ----- at bottom, less, 0 .
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_Written at Sea, 1785.
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That every strait row (horizontal or vertical) of 8 numbers added together makes 260, and half each row half 260.
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--ƕi difikųlti ϖv lųrniŋ to spel uel in ƕi old uê iz so grêt, ƕat fiu atên it; ɧϖuzands and ɧϖuzands rųitiŋ ϖn to old edԻ, uiƕϖut ever biiŋ ebil to akuųir it.
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This account is transmitted to the emperor, whose ministers can thence foresee a scarcity, likely to happen in any province, and from what province it can best be supplied in good time.
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Our proverb too says truly, that _the receiver is as bad as the thief_.
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